Reflections on Romans 10
May 31, 2023
(Context: This reflection, and the ones in upcoming weeks, are responses to passages that the Kenya team has been reading through and memorizing in preparation for our trip in July.)
As I read through Romans 10 this week I kept coming back to verse 20:
20 Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me."
While I understand why verses 14-15 are important to commit to memory in preparation for this trip (as an extension of the Great Commission to preach the Gospel, a word of encouragement to those sent), I also find a lot of peace in verse 20.
[14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"]
I've been on a number of mission trips before, and I often find myself wondering what good will come of my going. While I may be misquoting, I remember someone telling me once that short term missionaries "shake the ground" for long term missionaries, who can then more easily "plant" the seeds of the Gospel. While I understand that this is due to the nature of short-term missions, I always used to wish that I could do more - teams invest so much time and work in preparing and going that it felt like a waste if "all" we got to do was sing songs and teach a class or two. I wanted to be the one planting and harvesting, not just breaking ground!
Some of this stems from a desire for control, a desire to be the savior in my own life as well as for others - it's a worry that even the long term missionaries can't reach everyone, that if I don't talk to that one person in that one village they'll never be reached. "How can they hear without someone preaching to them?"
Verse 20 reminds me that while He does call us to go and preach, God also reveals Himself to peoples unaware; those who did not ask or seek, and without my intervention. God does not need me to go, rather He invites me, and all of us, to witness what He is doing in the world, and to take part in whatever way we can in the work of His kingdom.
I think a lot of members on this team would like to have control over situations, maybe even over their own salvation (like me) so I'll be praying for myself and for the team that we would be at peace knowing that ultimately God is the one who is in control. He has done, is doing, and will continue to do great works in Kenya, and I'm excited to witness it with all of you and bring that testimony back!